Canada's Conners, Hughes each 6 shots back in 1st round of Tokyo Olympic golf

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KAWAGOE, JAPAN - JULY 29: Corey Conners of Team Canada plays his shot from the seventh tee during the first round of the Men's Individual Stroke Play on day six of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games at Kasumigaseki Country Club on July 29, 2021 in Kawagoe, Saitama, Japan.  (Chris Trotman/Getty Images - image credit)
KAWAGOE, JAPAN - JULY 29: Corey Conners of Team Canada plays his shot from the seventh tee during the first round of the Men's Individual Stroke Play on day six of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games at Kasumigaseki Country Club on July 29, 2021 in Kawagoe, Saitama, Japan. (Chris Trotman/Getty Images - image credit)

Canadians Corey Conners and Mackenzie Hughes each shot a 2-under 69 in their first round of the Olympic golf tournament in Japan on Thursday.

Conners, the 29-year-old from Listowel, Ont., bogeyed on the fifth hole, but had three birdies, including one as he finished up on the 18th at the Kasumigaseki Country Club.

Hughes, from Dundas, Ont., had two bogeys, but made up for it by notching four birdies. The Canadians are six shots back from first-round leader Austrian Sepp Straka. Straka tied an Olympic record with his opening-round score.

The 28-year-old Austrian found great success, shooting an 8-under 63 with eight birdies along the way — including four over a five-hole stretch.

WATCH | Straka leads after the 1st round:

Thailand's Jazz Janewattananond is one shot back in second, with Belgium's Thomas Pieters and Carlos Ortiz of Mexico tied for third at 6-under.

Janewattananond said that he was "next level nervous" while teeing off.

"The dream is to medal — anything is fine," he said.

Masters champion Hideki Matsuyama, who recently became Japan's first men's major champion at The Masters, also finished up the first round at 2-under, as did Ireland's Rory McIlroy.

McIlroy bogeyed twice, but also had four birdies. They're part of an 11-way tie for 20th, including the Canadians.

Matsuyama said he was hoping for a better round, especially as the experience could be the "first and last" time he gets to play in the Olympics in his home country.

"If I say there's no pressure, I would be lying. Hopefully, I'll be able to embrace the pressure — that's upon me to try to put together a nice tournament here," he said.

Toby Melville/Reuters
Toby Melville/Reuters

Play was suspended for a couple of hours as a thunderstorm passed through.

Earlier in the week, world No. 1 Jon Rahm of Spain and No. 6 American Bryson DeChambeau had to withdraw after testing positive for COVID-19. No. 2 Dustin Johnson of the U.S. isn't competing.

On the women's side, Brooke Henderson and Alena Sharp will be back to represent Canada for the second consecutive time.

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